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Orthographic image of an Oahu North Shore agricultural area taken by a drone from 400'. The image represents a series of photos stitched together and processed such that perspective distortions are removed and all pixels are in their correct x, y positions.

Using the aerial ortho image, 2D "planimetrics" (features independent of elevation such as building footprints, roads, water features, etc.) are drawn by SOH's partner aerial analysts. LiDAR provides 3D ground elevation differentiation from which a topographic surface can be extracted.

SOH receives this information and:

  • confirms location data with "boots on the ground" traditional survey methods

  • surveys and maps features undetectable from the air due to dense tree canopy or other obstructions

  • combines all elements into one map for utmost clarity and client convenience and usefulness



Sam O. Hirota, Inc. is a leading aerial LiDAR and imaging solutions firm Headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, the company has established a strong reputation for delivering high-quality geospatial data and innovative solutions to a diverse client base.


(Above) SOH sees its local presence and its over 50 years of experience with Hawaii land surveying and photogrammetric work as distinct advantages. SOH Pilot Frank Robinson readies photogrammetry equipment for a flight over Honolulu in this late 1960s photo from the SOH archives.


(Below) Software used by Sam O. Hirota, Inc. can process thousands of images to produce depth maps, grouping of maps and model creation, a process that usually takes 12-15 hours, but due to the power of SOH computers, took only 3hr:35min:7seconds. The process generated 142 parts with 828.2 million triangles.

(Above) SOH topograhic survey map of a Windward Oahu golf course. Challenges arouse when the aerial LiDAR did not include important elements of the site due to the extensive tree canopy. While the Riegl scanner the aerial team uses mitigated most of the problem areas, SOH surveyors were sent in to manually locate these elements to guarantee project success.


As part of the development, planning and design for the Koolau golf course on the windward side of Oahu, Sam O. Hirota, Inc. (SOH) conducted Aerial topographic LIDAR and Aerial Photogrammetric Surveys of the project area being approximately 247 Acres.  Field survey located with elevations improvements, determined ground topography, and established survey controls and benchmarks.  Deliverables for the survey consisted of Ortho Photos and Civil 3D “DWG” files containing surface and planimetrics.  Note that SOH was able to accommodate for golf course play and the filming of a television show during the time of the survey.


The aerial data was further processed by SOH President Dr. Dennis Hirota using in-house computers and graphics processors to provide a textured mesh model of the 246-acre golf course. The 2,701 aerial photos were fed into Reality Capture software and model generation, including depth maps, grouping of maps and creating the model, took 3hr:35min:7seconds. The model consists of some 828.2 million triangles.


Through effective project management, SOH has positioned itself as a trusted partner for public, private, and government clients seeking reliable and high-quality UAV services for their geospatial needs.

  • Services include aerial mapping, orthophoto generation, 3D modeling, terrain analysis, volumetric calculations, and asset inspections.

  • SOH has cultivated a network of highly skilled, certified, and nationally recognized UAV operators and data analysts across the country chosen for their expertise, experience, equipment, and adherence to regulatory compliance.

  • SOH employs a comprehensive project management system to oversee partner UAV operations. This system streamlines communication, facilitates collaboration, and ensures seamless coordination between SOH's in-house team and its aerial partners.

  • SOH serves a diverse range of clients, successfully completing UAV projects for public infrastructure projects, private land development, and government asset management

  • The company actively explores emerging technologies, techniques, and applications to stay ahead of the curve and provide clients with cutting-edge solutions.

Contact us for more information.

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